And Memoirs!

Memoir writing is as easy as accepting what made you you.

If there is anything lesser difficult, it is admitting to your mistake when you haven’t committed any. But life throws surprises and shocks at you. Which is what brings forth this series. On the surface, what looks like a recollection of the countless moments that make up life, each moment has a life of its own. These cherished moments, put together, are more than their sum called life.

An account of what I recall as history, my history, is what I cover through this series of posts. I can hardly blame anyone for anything that has happened to me. No one can. No one should. We would be at fault if we were to look at our past with regrets, guilts, or shame. It is despicable of us to blame our destiny for everything that made us us. If anything, we must accept everything as a part of our lives—if it were easy, like I mentioned in the beginning. Every new experience has brought with it a lesson that made me my better version.

A memoir is a bellwether that signals the arrival of storms of recollections; it is the lighthouse that witnesses tsunamis that unearth gems of wisdom from the depths of the past.

But I wish the memoirs to enable you to look at me beyond the boundaries of bone and flesh. Everything I’d henceforth share as memoirs would be dear-to-the-heart, thick-and-textured experiences. I wish the memoirs to:

  • Be natural: Show complexities of emotions and relationship
  • Be human: Show vulnerabilities and imperfections
  • Be impactful: Leave you with a message in a friendly but an affirmative way

Only then will each memoir smell unquestionably myself. Its whiff will fill the air around me with an aroma of warmth. It will break the time barriers by teleporting me into a familiar world of emotions. I will then be looking back, moving forward, and yet standing still.

AKA Life

The macabre imaginations of non-existence.
The morbid interests of people show in my choices.

The manipulative judgements by the wishful mob.
The maniacal interpretations of the merciless souls.

The connection between fate and celestial geometry—often fashioned.
The coherence between life and logic—often conjectured.

The jolts of life.
The jeering people nudging me to the pyre—not at all a surprise.

The velvety words. The coarse assumptions.
The visual appeal of inaudible emotions.

The deceitful intentions.
The demanding expectations.

Life is a smorgasbord.
What else, after all, do I expect it to be.

© Suyog Ketkar

Micropoetry: War Medals

Medals symbolize
Not what’s won but also lost.
That’s, the untold story.

© Suyog Ketkar

#micropoetry #haiku

What Stops Me from Writing?

It is the fear of losing out—
The experience, that is—on the Present
That I sometimes
Stop myself from writing.

However, it is the boon of—
Heart, that is—self-belief
That I reserve as I
Get back to writing.

It is the fear of falling behind—
The dreaded race, that is—monies
That I sometimes
Stop myself from writing.

However, it is resorting to—
Karma, that is—calmness under pressure
That I fall back upon myself and
Get back to writing.

It is the fear of getting lost in—
Cluelessness, that is—the abundance of words
That I sometimes
Stop myself from writing.

However, It is the truth of—
Candid confessions, that is—life
That I seek, and thus,
Get back to writing.
© Suyog Ketkar

Be that Faith

Through the watery eyes that flow,
In the smoldering hearts that glow,
Be the faith you wish the world to sustain.

Through the darkest of nights,
In the glaring flaws appearing in daylight,
Let go of the fear. Let that belief remain.

Through the burgeoning dream you know,
In the countless hopes you sow,
Let the truth prevail. Falsity, never again.

Through despair have survived but few.
Be the one who comes out anew.
Let not the mind take over; that’s typical brain game.

For those who lament and shriek.
Reserve shoulders for those who are weak.
Let your life become a boon. Not a bane.

Through insanity you cannot be top gun.
Practicing Sang-Froid can make you but one.
Do that which is impossible; be sane.
©Suyog Ketkar

Cricket and the 500th Test for India

I seldom write on sports. But of course, only if we think Cricket is just a sport, at least in India; It is the blood that runs through the nerves of the Indians. It is the thought that drives them closer, even strangers get to dance on the same tunes when India registers a win. Those are reasons enough to share my thoughts on it. And, hence this post.

The Indian cricket’s milestone figure of the 500th test match comes at a time when most of us are more interested in the pleasure of seeing the Cricket balls smash out of the Cricket ground. The test cricket, unlike the other – faster – formats of the game, is about patience. It is about something that today’s generation, mostly, will not choose to see… “you know, who waits for five days to see the result”, someone might add.

Amidst the current air of reaching the milestone figure of 500 test matches, I sense this strange feeling: Will we ever get to see India’s 1000th test? Not because it took us exactly 80 years to reach this milestone – and that, doing the basic math, it would take us another 80 to play the remaining 500 – but because the trend is shifting, for whatever reasons.

The game is increasingly becoming more about the story and glory of batters than about the overall spirit of the sport. The game is now more about the batting average than the fun in either chasing targets or not letting chase targets. Is it wrong? Are spectators’ expectations wrong? No, because they are in dearth of perhaps the most important thing: time!

My two cents worth of thought? I have always been a believer of that “old-school” thought that even pleasure must be earned, and Test Cricket, as a format, lets you do just that: Five days; close to 540 balls to be faced per day; scorching heat (or varying temperatures, in some cases); and test of patience for players from both the sides – now I know how it got its name. It just can’t get more demanding than that.

But, like I said before, it is the momentous pleasure that most of us seek today. All they care is about shouting out loud as they see the cricket ball being batted out of the bounds. All they seek is the “unearned” pleasure in the batter’s eyes for taking a hit at (pun intended) whatever comes. Is there even a technique in situations that already have your adrenaline pumped up? If you think so, I’d choose to differ.

For a player (doesn’t matter who they are, a batter, a bowler, or one of the umpires), the test cricket is the ultimate test of their physical and mental strength. It is only when they burn themselves on the hard pitches that they truly earn their pleasure –the true spirit of the game. It is like the rare encounter where you enjoy the journey as much as the destination. It is but pity that the spectators only seldom get the true feel of the game.

That is why I think we must celebrate this milestone; We really must. Also because this is time when we make a conscious choice: Of either preserving the soul of Cricket or moving on! Though I really like to watch Cricket, and that I will continue to watch whatever format they choose to play, I will continue to have my reservations in favor of my thought. Call me an “old school” guy.

Each format has its own good thing. And, every match is going to end in a result. But, that anticipation, constant engagement, and hard work in “earning” the pleasure will always be of the utmost importance to me, even though I will be one of those “poor” spectators who would never really get to “feel” the game. Even though I will continue to enjoy the new formats of the game, I will continue to have reservations for the “test” cricket. Howzat!

Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken!

We all learn. And, here’s the post on one such thing I learned, recently. For one of the projects I worked before I switched jobs last week, I was the only tech-comm contributor who held the dual role of preparing technical content as well as marketing collateral for the flagship product.

Until that time, I thought that technical writing made me be proud of one habit of pursuit: Perfection. I have grown, learned with time. And, I have gradually improved on my work and writing style. Consequently, I have developed this habit of looking for perfection in what I deliver, both in my work and in the blogs I publish.

The tasks required me to prepare the “usual” user and administration guides and then some customer-facing, enticing marketing collateral to increase the purchases of our products. I took up that dual role on the special requests from the content writing team lead, because I – being the sole writer for the thread – could explain the products’ core strengths.

Though there were a lot of things that I improved upon in the project, there were some that I had to leave untouched as I wrapped up. Friday was my last day at the office. I also had the other engagements at my home to look into before I joined my new company on Monday. So, I was hardly left with any energy and time to manage the tasks pending with me.

I knew – and still know – that had I tried harder, I could have managed a couple of additional edit iterations on the marketing collateral I prepared. I wanted to share only the perfect content with my then customers and colleagues, but I was short of time. Just one more write-up. One more edit iteration cycle; another better version. One more day. One more feature. One more document. One more inch toward perfection… just… one… more…

<Pause>

Please realize that I don’t WANT to commit mistakes – no one wants to. Also, I don’t think that I am perfect. But, knowing that fact does not – and cannot – stop me from TRYING to be perfect. And, here comes the wisdom: I AM WRONG.

Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.

The truth is: One of the biggest challenges in technical communication is feedback. And, it is good to assume that even if the users provide feedback, it is only for what (they know or they think they know) is missing from your documentation. Assumptions are good. So, if they never get back to you, you can ASSUME that you are good to go. Like it or hate it, it has always been the way to go for technical communicators.

But, if that is true, then what is perfection?

Perfection is the state of being “all correct” in a situation, given a premise, under specific parameters, and at a certain point in time. Given that to be true – I can’t find a definition better than that – I think perfection is BAD. It stops you from progression. Progression toward a version better than you created. Perfection is status quo. And, I want to continue to flow. I want to continue to evolve.

Don’t Waste Words

The ancient Indian literature is full of symbolism. But, the documents from the relatively recent history are no less full of insights and wisdom. During one of my regular conversations recently, someone shared something really interesting with me, which made me write this post. Right, so the verses in the post are originally composed (and possibly sung) by Saint Tukaram, a popular Poet-Philosopher-Contributor from the early 17th century. He is known for his devotional poetry, but is known to have educated community in general toward logical devotion toward the almighty. Click here to read this post.

The Inverted Tree of Information

I will start this post where I ended the previous one: the inverted tree structure of information categorization. As promised, I will talk about my interpretations on some of the verses in the Bhagwad Gita, which is a great source of inspiration for me on both, personal as well as professional grounds. Click here to read the full post.

Choose Your Luggage.

If life is a journey, and not a destination, isn’t your life all about how long do you keep walking? The challenges that you face, the people whom you meet, and the experiences that you glean: it all adds up to count as memories in your life. And, unlike the materialistic aspect, your richness is not restricted to the amount of money you earn, but the amount of memories you gather. C’est la vie!

We meet different kinds of people in our life. Each one has their own, small (but important) role to play in our lives. Some get registered as family, some as friends, and some as enemies. But each of them contributes something to our journey. We either succeed with them, or earn experiences because of them. But, we never walk alone. Nobody does!

So, what do we do to make the most out of this life? What do we do to go really long? Or, at least, go longer distances than we initially thought? Let us see.

We travel with a lot of luggage. Although, mostly an unwanted one, the luggage packs our memories. We carry our aspirations, emotions, learning, pleasures, treasures, and experiences. All in all, we carry two sets of luggage: the positive ones and the negative ones.  The negative luggage (of agitation, anger, frustration, hatred, or jealousy) are like bundles of cotton. Each time we have those feelings, the bundles become wet. And, the more we have those feelings the more those continue to get wet. And, if you’ve realized where I am getting at, it becomes heavier, and consequently gets difficult (almost impossible) to walk with a heavier luggage.

But, if we choose to leave aside those presumptions, let go off that negative set of luggage, we will eventually cover great distances in our journeys … I have realized that irrespective of what result do we get, we must choose not to get disappointed. That’s because, we will either succeed or earn a sufficient amount of experience.

I choose to set aside this negative set of luggage, so that I can go longer distances. What about you?

#suyogsutra